Sharing the love for books

Book sharing platforms and meet-ups have become popular in the city

Updated - March 27, 2018 02:34 pm IST

Published - March 26, 2018 09:05 pm IST

 Participants at a Sip and Swap, which is a book-sharing party, in Bengaluru.

Participants at a Sip and Swap, which is a book-sharing party, in Bengaluru.

A book can do much more than transport the reader to another world or into the mind of someone else.

For enterprising bibliophiles, books can also be about an exchange of ideas, conversations, new friendships and meet-ups.

The love for books has seen many initiatives to facilitate easy sharing of books, something that is increasingly becoming popular in the city.

Speed-dating style

After gaining popularity in Mumbai, Sip and Swap, a book-sharing party, came to Bengaluru in November last year. Priyesh Thakkar, 24, left his corporate job to start the initiative in January 2017. So far, he has organised 10 parties in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

“The idea is to get people to do something simple and at the same time, daunting: have a real conversation. The parties allow strangers to exchange books over a cup of coffee,” says Mr. Thakkar.

The parties work along the lines of speed-dating, where one tries to market their favourite book to other participants. They sit across each other and get five minutes to talk about their book and if the other person is convinced, the book is swapped and then the participant can switch over to the next table. The only aspect of money involved is paying for food or beverages they have ordered at the venue.

“We have had one party in Bengaluru and are planning to make it a regular thing. I am building a team in the city who can organise these parties at least once a month to begin with. These parties are an easy and cheap way of promoting the habit of reading,” he added.

Spreading love for paperback/hard-cover

Kanica Jindal, 27, had an entire shelf of books that she had finished reading. Though she wanted to read new books, finding place to stock them was a problem. The software engineer created a Facebook group and offered to share her books. In seven months, her Read A Book has facilitated exchange of around 700 books for free.

“When I started, it was just my collection of over 1,000 books that I posted on the page. When someone requested a book, I would arrange for delivery and pick-up from the person's house. As more people started showing willingness to share their books, we scaled up the initiative to setting meetings between the person sharing and the person who showed interest in the book,” says Ms. Jindal.

Apart from letting people connect over books, Ms. Jindal says the idea is also to encourage people to read paperbacks. “There is no membership. Anyone can share and request books on the page. Meeting are arranged in Basavanagudi, Baiyappanahalli, J.P. Nagar and Kanakapura Road,” she said.

Two meet-ups have been organised till date and Read A Book plans to organise such meets once a month.

Recommend and share

Long-time friends Sahas Kulkarni and Rahul Bile were in the habit of exchanging books they read. They wondered how it would be to share and take books from people they don’t know. Not only would they get to read more books, but also make new friends. Thus began Books on Demand , a free book-sharing platform, last year.

The Facebook platform allows people to post a book once they have finished reading it on the page. Once someone shows interest, it gets swapped. People can also offer recommendations to avid readers. “If the two people are staying in the same neighbourhood, we help them connect and exchange, or else we offer free pickup and delivery,” said Mr. Kulkarni.

Initially, it was his books that were being circulated in the group, more people have started sharing their books. “There is definitely a growing interest in the concept and we hope to facilitate more exchange of books,” he said.

Incentivising sharing

Another avid reader had truckloads of books that he did not want to give away to a waste paper mart. Finding it difficult to manage them, Napoleon Arouldas S. got the idea of creating a website to share his books with anyone who was interested. He started Put For Share in 2015. Since then, he has given away and/or facilitated sharing of thousands of books.

“Initially, it was a free books-sharing platform. We did not accept any money from anybody for the books they took from us. Also, those sharing did not get any monetary benefit, so the numbers were less. To incentivise sharing, we started offering store-credits, which can be used to buy other books from the website,” said Mr. Arouldas, adding that all the books are available for a very low price.

People can register on Put for Share and express interest in sharing books, which would be picked up from their doorstep. “Every books is dusted, indexed and stored carefully before it is passed on,” he added.

The platform has over 500 registered sharers who share books of all genres. Recently, a book-sharing event was organised in the city.

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